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Indigenous mothers removed from their natural families during childhood are significantly more likely than other Indigenous mothers to be victims of violence according to a new report led by Dr Kyllie Cripps from the University of Melbourne’s School of Population Health.

Dr Cripps analysis of data from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Social Survey found mothers of the Stolen Generation living in remote areas were three times as likely to experience violence as other Indigenous mothers.

“These findings are troubling and add to accumulating evidence of the lasting impacts of removing young children from their families,” she says.

Dr Cripps says it’s also important to recognise that violence against women in Indigenous community is a national problem, and not restricted to remote communities.

“Our study suggests that women with young children who live in cities and towns are actually more likely to experience violence than those in remote communities.  This is not a problem confined to particular parts of Australia or a handful of communities.”

Dr Cripps says her report, published this week in the Medical Journal of Australia, is the first study to analyse population-level data about violence against women in Indigenous communities.

“It is an enormous problem and there are no easy solutions,” says Dr Cripps.

“But there are some violence prevention measures that we know work.  An important first step is to ensure that these services are both accessible to Indigenous women and organised in ways that are culturally appropriate.”

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